Saturday, August 14, 2010


Elizabeth Willis Barrett June 16, 2010

(As usual, I'm better at telling others what to do than doing those things myself!)

Catch your children off guard. When milk gets spilled, laugh! When you are late for an appointment, tell a joke! When you are very uptight as I tend to be, humor is hard to come by. But a good laugh can put oil on troubled waters. Considering the terrible oil spill in the Gulf right at this moment, that is a lousy analogy. Suffice it to say that humor makes nearly everyone feel better.

Children need the opportunity to look their best: good hair cuts, clothes that are in style, clean and nice smelling bodies. They need to feel good about themselves and how they look. People treat well groomed children better because they appear to be cherished by their parents. I have a friend who is now in her 60’s. She still holds a little animosity towards her mother who didn’t think it was important for her daughter to have some of the latest fashions.

Find joy in the journey. You might as well. The alternative is frustration and irritability. The hectic, mad-house days with young children won’t last very long. When they are gone, those years will be missed.

Keep Your Promises
Be very careful what you promise or what your kids perceive as a promise. They will hold you to it and will think very unkindly of you if you break it.

We each need to be loved. We each need to feel treasured. It is vital to our well-being. In Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages of Children he reminds us that we each express and receive love in different ways. You would do well to discover the love language each of your children prefers and lavish it on him daily. The rewards for loving are incomputable.

I see nothing wrong with a great bribe once in awhile. I certainly perform better with incentives, don’t you?

Never Play Favorites
You probably have your favorites from time to time depending on how each child is interacting with you at the moment, but it is imperative that that preference doesn’t show. I knew of a grandmother who would flutter over her blood grandchildren enormously and would treat her husband’s grandchildren like annoying and undesirable neighborhood children. Even though they all called her Grandma, the unfavored ones had no liking for her and some potentially precious relationships were lost. Children know when they are being slighted and they will hold it against you forever.

By your own example and words, a child can be helped to have a healthy, happy outlook on life and to see life as joyful and full of tremendous opportunity.

Praise works wonders. There will be great rewards when you look for things children are doing right and then praise them for it. If you tell a child that you’ve noticed that you can always count on him to come home on time, he will most likely keep coming home on time because he really wants to please you. If you tell others about your child’s good points and ignore his not so good qualities, you will reinforce in that child that he is wonderful and well worth knowing. Praise him for his ideas. They might not be the greatest yet, but your praise will keep the ideas coming and they might just get better.

1 comment:

Tenneys said...

Mom you have such good advice! You write so well that I wish I had that as a talent. Thanks for posting your tips and wonderful stories :)Love you!